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first_imgFianna Fáil spokesperson on Agriculture Charlie McConalogue TD has said the Minister for Social Protection and her Department must review Farm Assist Scheme forms to ensure that farmers are not slowed down by red tape when applying for the payment.Deputy McConalogue commented, “My constituency office, and my colleagues in Fianna Fáil, are regularly meeting with members in the farming community who have been thrown by the farm assist payment forms.“These convoluted forms, with all the requirements within, are a yearly ordeal for farmers.” He added that the Farm Assist Scheme was established by Fianna Fáil to provide a valuable payment for low-income farmers.“While the last Fine Gael led government introduced drastic cuts to the scheme in 2012, Fianna Fáil have managed, under the Confidence and Supply arrangement, to reverse these cuts.“The Minister must instruct her Department to review this form to ensure the farm assist application is a swift and simple process for those in the farming community,” concluded Deputy McConalogue.Farm Assist application process should be simplified – McConalogue was last modified: April 9th, 2019 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more


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first_imgWhich would you choose:Chocolate or vanilla?Fifty-year-old cognac or Japanese Wagyu steak hot off the grill?Ginger or Mary Ann? Niagara Falls or the Grand Canyon?A walk-off grand slam or 10 combined home runs in a nine-inning game?You didn’t have to choose with that last one, assuming you had the proper packages, apps and streaming technology. You could have watched the Phillies’ Bryce Harper slaughter a delivery from the Cubs’ Derek Holland for a game-ending granny.You then …last_img


first_img(Visited 28 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Fewer people would say foolish things if they noticed how ideas can refute themselves.“There’s no such things as free will.” Stephen Cave, a “philosopher and writer in Berlin,” argues this position on The Atlantic:In recent decades, research on the inner workings of the brain has helped to resolve the nature-nurture debate—and has dealt a further blow to the idea of free will. Brain scanners have enabled us to peer inside a living person’s skull, revealing intricate networks of neurons and allowing scientists to reach broad agreement that these networks are shaped by both genes and environment. But there is also agreement in the scientific community that the firing of neurons determines not just some or most but all of our thoughts, hopes, memories, and dreams.His interlocutors could tease back by asking if Mr. Cave made that argument of his own choice. Did the neuroscientists choose to research what goes on in another person’s skull, without thinking about what’s going on in their own? Is their agreement about genetic and environmental determinism determined by the firing of their own neurons? Then how can they claim it is true? In their view, it would be no more true than the firing of neurons in the skull of a person who disagrees with their consensus.“To strengthen an opinion, simply say it is based on morality: ‘Moral’ label instantly makes opinions more resistant to change.” (Science Daily). This observation may well be true; persuaders might indeed get more mileage out of their rhetoric by appeals to morality. But we must turn the question around, and ask if the psychologists from Ohio State believed it was moral (or not) to conduct their research. If so, they are not simply saying it was moral; they are presupposing that morals are more than matters of opinion or rhetoric. If not, they give us no reason to believe their research at all.“What’s the Meaning of Life? Physics” (National Geographic). In this piece, Jeremy Berlin reviews a new book by Adrian Bejan with a self-explanatory title, The Physics of Life: The Evolution of Everything. Bejan, starting with Darwin’s view that humans are coextensive with all of nature, considers his so-called “constructal law” a purely materialistic process that generates universes, life, and minds. If so, it generates ideas, too, like this one:Evolution is a crucial part of how we need to define efficiency. I don’t mean evolution in the Darwinian sense. I mean that there’s a universal urge or tendency toward design and organization that changes over time in a discernible, seemingly goal-oriented direction. So it would be more accurate to call these things evolutionary design and evolutionary organization. This has nothing to do with intelligent design, by the way. It’s simply treating design and evolution as two natural scientific concepts. One must ask in response, though, if concepts are real. If they are outcomes of unguided, non-intelligent natural laws, and are always changing over time (evolving), on what basis can they be considered true? Bejan is certainly aware of opposite worldviews that see things differently. Did the constructal law produce those as well? How is he to determine which concept, then, is better, or truer, than any other?My own thinking evolved while I was writing this book. I conclude with the idea that science itself is an evolutionary design that empowers humans. So in that way alone, I think, the Constructal Law has a lot to say—and a lot of eyes to open.He speaks as a guru whose eyes, like the Buddha, have been enlightened. A clever debater could ask if his thinking has stopped evolving yet and reached Nirvana, and how would he know. If it is still evolving, who’s to say it might evolve into its opposite some day?The bottom line is that many of the things that we take for granted need to be explained in a better way. As you and I know, they can disappear overnight if we take our eye off the ball. Or, worse, the ball will hit us in the face. Wake up! I say to readers. If you don’t wake up, the ball will wake you up. Explanation implies importing truth. If truth evolves, it isn’t true any more. And explaining “in a better way” presupposes an unevolving standard: i.e., knowing which explanation is better and which is worse—not just for our culture, but for all time.Incidentally, his definition of “physics” encompasses more than the laws of Newton or Einstein. To him, physics (Greek) and nature (Latin) refer to “everything that happens.” Well, then, his constructal law is just one of those things that happens from time to time. In that vein, here’s how he might explain physics: “Stuff Happens.” That phrase, however, is incapable of evolving, otherwise nothing would ever happen again, and the phrase would be false.Accused of reductionism, Bejan admits, in spite of himself, that his own idea is a manifestation of the Stuff Happens Law (q.v.). Apparently, that ball has not hit him in the face yet.There is no rational escape from the self-refuting fallacy. Your job is to recognize it when you see it and extricate those entangled in it back into the realm of rationality. Justifiable logical concepts presuppose non-evolving morality and supernaturalism. Materialism cannot supply the preconditions for intelligibility of concepts argued to be true. It defeats itself, therefore. This means it is not true, was not true, and cannot ever be true, despite any new evidence put forth in its favor. It’s like saying, “My idea is that there are no ideas.” Yes, we all need to wake up to the crazy ideas materialists and relativists are pawning as “science.”last_img read more


first_imgDanny K paints the walls of the Tlhatlogang. Junior Secondary School CEO of the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, Achmat Dangor speaks at the launch of Mandela Day 2012. SA celebrities address pupils. UN officials do their bit for Madiba. (Images: Cadine Pillay) MEDIA CONTACTS • Sello Hatang  Spokesperson for the Nelson Mandela   Centre of Memory   +2711 547 5600 RELATED ARTICLES • Schools to benefit for Mandela Day • Mandela TV series to start production • Mandela archive goes live • Mandela Day now a global eventCadine PillayThe annual International Mandela Day was launched on 23 May with several of South Africa’s most popular celebrities taking time out to roll up their sleeves and fix a partly dilapidated school in Soweto, Johannesburg.Working under the theme “Take action and inspire our youth for tomorrow” they toiled alongside officials from the UN Information Centre (UNIC) as well as employees of several large corporates to get a head start to their 67 minutes for Mandela. South Africans and the world at large are urged every year to spend 67 minutes doing a good deed for someone less fortunate than themselves as a way of observing Mandela Day.Singer Danny K, rapper and presenter ProVerb, model and presenter Bonang Matheba and fashion designer Gert Johan Coetzee painted the walls of two container classrooms at Tlhatlogang Junior Secondary School in White City Jabavu, Soweto. The school was selected by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory as the launch venue.The voices of SA“All South African artists have a close connection with Madiba,” said Danny K, referring to Mandela by his clan name. The singer challenged musicians at the launch to give their voices, all the while reminding guests of the vital role young people play in society.“Providing them with an education and a good start in life can help them overcome challenges,” he said.Danny K is also part of the SHOUT campaign, an initiative that raises awareness on issues related to crime in South Africa.Matheba has also been busy with her initiative called “Carry Yourself with Confidence”. Her aim with the project is to reach 6.7 million girls by the end of 2012 across through motivational talks.“I believe that God gives to you so that he can give through you, and that is the message I want to send to young girls,” she said.Addressing pupils, ProVerb called on them to not only engage in their own 67 minutes of good deeds, but to also encourage their peers to do the same.“They should also not just do it for Mandela Day, but carry on to with the spirit of goodwill in their everyday lives,” he said.Sello Hatang, spokesperson for the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, said: “We are particularly pleased with the artists who have decided to join us and hope that all their followers will take their lead.”Backing of corporatesLindsey Sherman from Investec, who spoke on behalf of the Companies for Mandela Day initiative, explained the importance and benefits of employee volunteering.She said in the past companies would just do their part on 18 July every year, but that has changed and they have now taken their efforts to include the weeks, even months prior to the day.The Companies for Mandela Day participants have created a system that encourages staff to undertake community service throughout the year.“This mobilises more people and encourages change makers to make their good deeds on-going and sustainable, rather than just once off,” said Nelson Mandela Day Coordinator Frank Meintjies. At least 25 companies form part of the initiative.In some cases the participating companies have gone as far as involving their staff in ‘payroll giving’, where employees agree to a certain amount being deducted from their salaries to go to the community projects their companies support.“This is excellent for sustainability and Mandela Day gives a boost to this on-going work, as well as bringing new employees into volunteer work,” said Meintjies.A global movementSpeaking at the launch, CEO of the centre Achmat Dangor said “Mandela Day is proof that one small step at a time can become a global movement around the world. All that is required is action.”Dangor called on guests to take time out of their lives to inspire change in their communities.“We would like to remind all that the Mandela Day campaign is a call for activism in order to build better communities.”Mandela Day was established in 2009 following the success of the former stateman’s 90th birthday commemoration the previous year. It is now officially adopted by the UN as a day to recognise the man and his efforts towards reconciliation in South Africa.“The aim is to inspire people not just in South Africa, but all over the world to follow by his example and take action,” said Dangor.Last year, the premier basketball league in the US, the National Basketball Association (NBA), will host their second series of basketball clinics in Alexandra, after a successful run in Soweto last year.Another initiative that is driven by Richard Mabaso, founder of Imbumba Foundation will see him climb Mount Kilimanjaro for the first time in July.His efforts are to raise funds and awareness for the education of girls from underprivileged backgrounds across the country.British comedian Eddie Izzard was not to be left behind. He started a marathon race in honour of Mandela earlier in the May at Mvezo in the Eastern Cape.“I will attempt to run 27 marathons in 27 days, as a small tribute to Mandela to symbolise the 27 years he spent in prison,” he said.The marathons will be run all over South Africa in areas of significance to Mandela’s life, including the Eastern Cape areas of Qunu and Fort Hare. In Gauteng they will be in Johannesburg, Soweto, Pretoria and Rivonia, while Cape Town and Robben Island will have their own events. Mandela was imprisoned for 18 of the 27 years at Robben Island.‘Encouraging active citizens’As the emphasis for Mandela Day is being placed on raising youth through decent education, the centre of memory – along with its partners – is driving some of South Africa’s most meaningful initiatives.“We would like to encourage young people to be active citizens by participating wholeheartedly in this campaign,” said Hatang. “There are countless ways to give back and start affecting a positive change for our youth.”The projects were inspired to improve conditions and literacy levels among youngsters from historically disadvantaged communities.The Container Library Project driven by Breadline Africa installs container libraries at primary schools throughout South Africa, benefiting about 1000 pupils.The 94+ Schools Project, initiated by the Department of Basic Education, has identified 94 of the country’s neediest schools for upgrades and refurbishment in honour of Mandela. “The message of giving your time to uplift your fellow citizens is reaching people, and the spirit of volunteerism that has been shown is humbling,” said UNIC Deputy Director Helene Hoedl.“We can only work harder by ensuring that this is more sustainable, and that we indeed make every day Mandela Day.”last_img read more


first_imgPune: The city police detained two persons on Tuesday for threatening Shrimant Kokate, a self-proclaimed historical researcher, and leader of the pro-Maratha, anti-Brahmin outfit Sambhaji Brigade.Santosh Shinde, a member of the outfit, told The Hindu that they suspect the accused of being Hindutva activists. “A WhatsApp group of around 80-90 persons had been regularly threatening Mr. Kokate since the past week, exhorting him to stop lecturing on King Shivaji and other aspects of Maharashtra’s history,” he said.He added that a case has been lodged in the Shivajinagar police station and two persons have been taken in police custody.According to sources in the police station, a case was lodged under Sections 501 (attempted defamation), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), and 507 (criminal intimidation by an anonymous communication) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and Sections 67 and 67(a) of the IT Act, among others.Mr. Kokate is known for his provocative lectures and writings on the life of Maratha warrior King Chhatrapati Shivaji, besides other aspects of the State’s history, like the Battle of Panipat. He is also critical of Brahmanical narratives and his speeches have aroused the ire of Hindutva groups like the Hindu Janjagruti Samiti (HJS).In 2010, the Kolhapur district police police reportedly issued a restraining notice to Mr. Kokate under clause 149 of the IPC, following a complaint by the HJS.last_img read more


first_imgThe Vasundhara Raje government in Rajasthan has introduced a 20% surcharge on liquor, the proceeds of which will be used for protection of cows in the State, an official said on Sunday. The State government notified that surcharge at the rate of 20% shall be levied and collected on the amount of tax or any sum in lieu of tax payable on the sale of foreign liquor, Indian made foreign liquor, country liquor and beer sold by dealers registered under the provisions of the Rajasthan Value Added Tax Act, 2003, with effect from July 23, 2018, an official order read. The surcharge imposed on liquor is meant for cow protection, Additional Chief Secretary (Finance and Taxation) Mukesh Kumar Sharma said. The State government had in April last year imposed a 10% surcharge on all non-judicial instruments for the protection of cows, thus making rent agreements, mortgage papers and lease agreements costlier. Official sources said the State government was also considering increasing the surcharge on non-judicial instruments to 20% from existing 10% for cow protection and propagation in addition to the liquor surcharge. Over 2,500 cow-shelters In the drought-affected areas of the State, there are 1,682 shelters with 5.86 lakh cows. There are a total 2,562 cow-shelters having nearly 8.58 lakh cows in Rajasthan. Officials said in the past two financial years, the Rajasthan government has earned approximately ₹895 crore from the 10% surcharge levied on stamp duty for conservation and propagation of cows and their progeny. Under the proposals for Cow Conservation and Propagation Fund Rules-2016, the State government provided ₹132.68 crore in the financial year 2016-17. The funds were provided for fodder and water to 1,160 cow-shelters. In 2017-2018, the State government spent Rs 123.07 crore on 1,603 cow-shelters. In 2015-16, before the surcharge was imposed, the State government spent ₹1.80 crore for nurturing 4,449 bovines.last_img read more